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Water Quality Program

Public Involvement Opportunities

Public involvement opportunities vary depending on the significance of the permitted discharge and public concern. Here are some of the main opportunities.

Public Notice of Application

Ecology releases a Public Notice of Application (PNOA) when a new permit application is accepted. The PNOA informs the public that Ecology has tentatively decided to develop a permit for the applicant and invites those interested to respond.

All who respond to the PNOA are placed on a permit-specific mailing list as “parties of record” and will receive all further notices regarding that permit.

Public Notice of Draft Permit

When the draft permit is complete, Ecology publishes a Public Notice of Draft Permit (PNOD). The PNOD invites the public to review the draft and make their views on the proposed permit action known to Ecology. The normal comment period is 30 days. This may be extended if Ecology holds a public hearing.

Ecology often holds public meetings during the comment period for significant permits, and will sometimes hold public hearings. If held, the hearings are preceded by a public meeting.

Ecology will hold a public hearing if it thinks there is sufficient public interest and a likelihood of meaningful comment. Ecology will hold a public hearing for all general permits, regardless of public interest expressed. Statements made in these hearings are formal testimony and become part of the permit record.

Response to Comments

After the close of the comment period, Ecology reviews and evaluates all comments and information received on the proposed permit. Ecology then prepares a response to comments to address suggested changes and detail any significant changes made to the permit as a result

The response to comments is sent to all parties of record and typically added as an appendix to the permit fact sheet.

Ecology may reopen the permit process for public comment, meetings, and hearings if major changes to the terms and conditions of the permit occur after public review.

Public Notice of Issuance of Permit

When public review and comment have been addressed, without major changes prompting reopening the process, Ecology will send a Notice of Issuance of the permit to parties of record. A permit typically becomes effective 30 days after it is issued.

  • The conditions of the permit can be appealed within 30 days after Ecology issues the permit.
  • A permit term is usually five years in length. Ecology may modify a permit during its term on the basis of new information, new regulations, or changes in the effluent volume or character.
  • Parties of record will be notified of appeals, resolution of appeals, suspensions, modifications, or revocations of a permit throughout its lifetime.


Contact Regional Permit Coordinators for questions on specific permits.


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Last updated September 2014